Erb’s palsy refers to a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the C5–C6 nerves which form part of the brachial plexus. Shoulder dystocia is often a cause of Erb’s palsy and occurs when the obstetrician applies too much force during deliver of the baby from the birth canal. Excess force can result from the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor, or simply by the doctor applying too much pressure to the baby’s head while pulling the baby from the womb.

If malpractice is suspected, it is important to consider if drugs were used to induce labor, or if the birth weight of the baby exceeded 8 1/2 lbs., or whether the mother has a small pelvis, or whether the infant was mal-positioned in the birth canal at delivery in a breech position. If you suspect malpractice, consult an attorney who has the resources and know-how to determine if malpractice occurred and will work to help you and your family obtain justice.

Prevalence and Types of Erb’s Palsy

Each year, more than 3.5 million babies are born in the United States. About one in every 1,000 of them will suffer from a birth injury called Erb’s Palsy. A group of nerves running from the spine through the shoulder and to the ends of the fingers are called the Brachial Plexus. They send signals that allow movement of the arms and hands. Sometimes during a delivery, the shoulder of the baby may become stretched or stuck behind the pelvic bone of the mother. That is more likely to happen with larger than average babies. If the problem is not detected in time, the baby’s Brachial Plexus may be stretched or torn. The result is Erb’s Palsy.

The limitations with this birth injury range from severe to mild. There are four types of Erb’s Palsy:

  • Avulsion injury: This is the most severe type, when nerves are pulled out from the spinal cord. Serious surgery is required to restore function.
  • Rupture injury: The nerve may have several tears; may require surgery and therapy to restore function.
  • Neuroma injury: Scar tissue blocks the nerves and may require surgery.
  • Stretch injury: This is the least severe type, but it may take 1-2 years before complete function is restored.

If your child has Erb’s Palsy, the treatment will depend on the severity of the problem. The recovery for most children, however, is 3-9 months. In more severe cases, physical and even occupational therapy may be a necessary part of the treatment.

Call an Erb’s Palsy Attorney in Indiana

Erb’s Palsy is a largely preventable birth injury. If your child suffers from Erb’s Palsy, severe or mild, contact Indiana Erb’s Palsy lawyer David W. Holub. Our team is dedicated to protecting your legal rights, and we are honored to serve you. Call today and learn how we can help.

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